Treasury secretary to discuss economic growth during visit

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs

29 NOV 2000 | Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers comes to campus Wednesday, Dec. 6 to present "Keeping the Economy Growing," sponsored by the Haas School of Business.

Summers, 44, served as deputy secretary for four years under former secretary Robert Rubin before taking over the top position in 1999. Prior to his work at the Treasury Department, Summers was chief economist of the World Bank and a Harvard professor.

His distinguished career has deep family roots: both parents were economists and uncles from both sides of the family won Nobel Prizes in economics.

An early achiever, Summers was admitted to MIT in his junior year of high school and, at 28, was the youngest ever to be appointed a full economics professor at Harvard. He also is a John Bates Clark medal winner, awarded to the country's most outstanding economists under the age of 40.

"He was an absolutely brilliant student," said Haas business school Professor Janet Yellen, who taught Summers while he was a graduate student at Harvard. "He was making his mark on the profession even as a student, writing important papers and conducting substantial research."

Yellen said she isn't surprised by Summers meteoric rise through the government ranks. She and her colleagues at Harvard knew from the start Summers was bound for greatness.

"He managed his transition from the academic world to the policy world so effectively," said Yellen of Summers' switch from professor to government official. "His acumen in both these arenas is a rare blend."

As head of the Council of Economic Advisors, Yellen worked with Summers on Social Security, trade and budget issues and praised his ability to analyze problems and create "practical and workable solutions."

She also lauded his collaborations with Rubin and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan in managing the major international financial crisis that occurred a few years ago. The three were featured on the cover of Time magazine in 1999, billed as "The Committee to Save the World."

As treasury secretary, Summers has helped extend the longest economic expansion since the Civil War, said Yellen.

"He has been an architect and advocate of paying down the national debt, enacting a tight fiscal policy, increasing productivity and preparing for the retirement of the baby boomers," she said.

Summers' visit is part of the Haas Business School's "Business Faculty Research Dialogue" series. Registration is required for attending the lecture, which takes place at 2 p.m. in Haas's Arthur Andersen Auditorium. E-mail to sign up.

Past speakers for the series, now in its third year, include Greenspan, Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley, Business Week's Michael Mandel, and James Wolfenshon, president of the World Bank.

Upcoming speakers include Ray Lane, former president of Oracle and now partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Chris Cotsakos, CEO of E*trade.


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